Korea plans to impose fines ranging from 30,000 won ($25.6) to 70,000 won on drivers caught watching a dashboard-mounted television while driving, officials said Thursday.
Officials laid out the plan at an economic policy meeting presided over by President Lee Myung-bak earlier in the day. The current law prohibits drivers from watching television while driving, but there is no penalty.
The plan came about two months after three professional cyclists were killed when a cargo truck driver, while watching TV on a navigation device, crashed into them on a road in Euiseong County, southeastern Korea.
Drivers often watch TV programs and other entertainment on mobile devices that use digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB) technology.
After the accident, police said they would propose a new law that will require all mobile devices fitted with DMB services to block broadcast signals when the car is in motion.
The Thursday meeting also drew up various measures to prevent man-made disasters, including the mandatory installment of ventilation hoods at small commercial shops such as Internet cafes and karaoke rooms.
"Disaster prevention is necessary to protect lives and people's attention to the issue should be raised to the level of advanced nations," Lee was quoted as saying during the meeting by his spokesman Park Jeong-ha.
"To become an advanced nation, people's perception (of disaster prevention) should be changed first before revising laws," Lee said.
About 30,000 people per year are involved in accidents and half of such accidents are related to cars, fires and industrial disasters, Park said, adding economic losses from those accidents amount to 32 trillion won each year. (Yonhap)